Before we leave this section of God’s Word I have to address verse 7 of chapter 15, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” In my early Christian walk I stumbled all over verses like this and I John 3:22 “and whatever we ask we receive from Him”. I stumbled because my flesh cried out for comfort and pleasure and possessions. So, the “whatever” I was asking for really was whatever “I” was asking for.
If you happen to look those verses up or know them you realize I wrote only a portion of each verse. The first verse is, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” And the second verse is “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” The key is we will receive whatever we ask for when we are abiding and keeping His commandments, because our will is in submission to His will.
Here is my version of a story I heard a long time ago that may help our understanding. There was a little boy who was anticipating the coming of Christmas. He knew presents were involved and had even asked for some. His father thought he was old enough to own a bicycle, so weeks before Christmas day he went out and bought a red BMX off-road bicycle with wide knobby tires for his son and hid it in the garage. From that day forward the father subtly began to talk to his son about, “how nice it would be to have a bike” and “how exciting it would be to have one with wide knobby tires that he could ride off-road ” and “how fast a red one would look”. Well, his son was finally convinced that was exactly what he wanted and so asked for it for Christmas. When Christmas day came guess what he received, a red BMX off-road bicycle with wide knobby tires!
Prayer has little to do with swaying God to give us our wants and desires. Jesus taught to pray, “give us each day our daily bread” . . . not cake. Many people would say, well you just don’t have enough faith to obtain the comfort, pleasure and possessions God wants to give you, but it doesn’t have anything to do with whether I can muster up enough faith, because even my faith is from God. Just ask those first century Christians who were mocked, imprisoned, tortured and put to death. Hebrews says they went about in sheepskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. Can we honestly say they just didn't have enough faith? Hebrews says they were, "men of whom the world was not worthy". Prayer has everything to do with having faith in Christ who is able and allowing the Spirit to transform our desires to that of the Father, so that "whatever we ask we receive from Him", because it is already in the garage!
Have a blessed week!